December 2020

“Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  2 Corinthians 4:16-18

About 2000 years ago God sent His only Son to redeem us from our enslavement to sin. Today we have hope and peace with God because of His life, death, resurrection and ascension. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Davis family Christmas

Last year, 2020, we all saw our need for that Hope more than ever. The true condition of the world was revealed, as fear and death reigned through the virus and the lockdowns. Our hearts were unmasked as we were all polarized against each other. We have always needed Jesus, but perhaps that’s clearer to us now more than ever. Personally I feel as if I’ve been reduced to a small child, desperately dependent on his Father. It’s sad that it takes so much for us to accept the embrace of God’s loving arms, but praise God for His ever present help in time of trouble. May we be effective ambassadors for Christ, not announcing our opinions but faithfully proclaiming to all God’s message of reconciliation. 

In this year of 2021, we are excited to see the plans that God has in store for our family and ministry. We have almost finished our furlough, which has blessed us in many ways. If God wills, we plan on returning to our home in Northern Uganda sometime in February. We know that God has renewed our vision and given us greater knowledge and wisdom during this respite, so that we will be a more effective tool when we return. We look forward to reuniting with all of our teammates and fellow laborers in the Gospel.  In particular we are excited to graduate our 2nd class of pastors this coming Spring, and we are even more excited to watch how God provides as we work toward opening a second campus for the pastoral school. When that happens, I have been asked to assume the role as director over that campus.  

Praise God:
  • For the gift of His Son, Jesus who has purchased us from sin and death.  Merry Christmas!
  • For another chance to draw near to God as He draws near to us.  Happy New Year!
Please Pray:
  • For our daughter’s passport to come in quickly.  Paperwork is moving slowly during this COVID time.
  • For our return home to Uganda. 
  • That the Lord provides for the second campus of our school of discipleship.

In Christ,

Matt, Noelle, Emma, Madeline, Noah & Charlotte

November 2020

“For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established; that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine.” Romans 1:11-12

Our furlough continues to be the fulfilling of what Paul longed for, the opportunity to meet with and be encouraged together with so many brothers and sisters in the faith.  We are always reminded of the ministry we have left in Uganda for this short time, and the work we have still remaining here in the US.  Being here in America has been it’s own kind of ministry, one with it’s own reward, namely, the joy of being reunited with ones we have left long ago, and the strengthening of our faith as we see and hear testimonies of what God was doing while we were away.  It has been a tremendous blessing to us.

Some of our friends who came out to help us paint

During our few weeks in Colorado (we will return there after visiting Noelle’s family in Nebraska), we were very happy to be staying in the building of one of our supporting churches. We had prayed for a place where we could receive visitors without disrupting a host family, where the kids could be kids, somewhere close to family, and where we could be a blessing. God answered by letting us stay at Colorado Freedom Church, which was the church Matt grew up attending, just down the street from his parents’ house. The church had a small gym area where the kids were free to play, and we were able to bless them with some remodeling. It also served as a base for Matt to earn some money, which we used to purchase the next 4 years of our children’s homeschool curriculum. CFC has been supporting us from the beginning, and we were so happy that they allowed us to stay there!

We spent Thanksgiving week with Matt’s grandparents in Kansas. Seeing our kids interact with their great-grandparents was precious, and we were happy to get a few pictures in the process. We are so thankful that with the love offering collected by the church there, we were able to send money back to Uganda. It will be used to purchase land and build a roof for one of the churches that has been planted by our church in Uganda. We continue to pray for the ability to do the same for 19 other churches there.

During most of our time in CO and even on our trip through KS, we were blessed with the company of our niece Moriah, who was lent to us by Noelle’s oldest brother and his wife for nearly 6 weeks while Noelle recovered from the c-section. The kids really love her, and although she is still young, her maturity is beyond her years and she really helped reinforce what we aim for in parenting. She was a God-send in help as well as friendship!

Praise God:

  • For health during our travels.
  • For places to stay.
  • For ability to see family.
  • For opportunities to speak at churches.
  • For funding for the church plot.
  • For Moriah!

Please pray:

  • For our presentation at Noelle’s childhood church this weekend.
  • For additional funding ($1,500/each) for the other 19 churches who currently meet under trees and on rented property.
  • For continued health for our family.
  • For us to be filled with the Spirit to share with others the good news of what Christ has done and continues to do!

In Christ,

Matt, Noelle, Emma, Madeline, Noah, & Charlotte

October 2020

“Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope for His lovingkindness.”  Psalm 33:18

Life just keeps going and going as we continue to visit friends and family.  We started October with a wonderful stay with our sending organization, Saving Grace World Mission, in Yorba Linda, California.  It is wonderful to serve alongside so many people devoted to the Lord, and we were very blessed by the sincere love of Christ shown by all the staff and community connected to Saving Grace.  Heading South, we came into Tecate, Mexico, to visit Matt’s brother and sister-in-law, Josh and Laura.  It was encouraging to be with them, to reconnect with Josh and to get to know Laura, since we hadn’t had opportunity before their wedding last year. It was also very special to spend time with our Mexican “Mama’s”. We had been on many short term trips to Tecate, and Matt had even spent 5 months living with Ma Elena and her family.  Being able to introduce them to their honorary grandchildren was precious.   On our way back to CO we stopped briefly in Phoenix to visit several friends.  We were also greatly encouraged there.  A few hours from home we had unexpected trouble with our vehicle. God brought friends who happened to live at the next Interstate exit, and they helped us home the next day. Praise God for His providence and protection!

Charlotte Hope was born on October 22 by C-section, the life verse we chose for her is printed above: Psalm 33:18.  We praise God for the safe procedure and delivery of our beautiful daughter, and the excellent care at the hospital here in Colorado Springs.  Emma and Madeline are happy to have another baby to love on, but Noah is very convinced that this is HIS baby. He loves her and with careful help, will hold her for as long as he can get away with. He is a fine big brother. While still admitted for recovery, God allowed us to get to know and pray for one of the nurses who cared for Noelle.  She became our friend, and we were even invited to come and meet her husband in their home.  What a blessing!

When you are open to whatever God has planned, it becomes a treat to be a part of it.  We have been blessed with many treats this month!!

Many blessings in Christ,
Matt, Noelle, Emma, Madeline, Noah, and Charlotte

September 2020

“God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity, only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.”  Psalm 68:6

I am grateful for the time God has given us to see some of our many loved ones.  I just can’t describe how much you all mean to us.  Our family, dear friends, partners, and fellow servants of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we love you and words can’t describe what a blessing it is to interact with each one of you and we can’t wait to see those of you whom we have not yet met with.  God has truly made a home for us.  

We started off our furlough at my parents house in Colorado, doing things we haven’t done in so long: Walmart runs, doctors appointments, meeting with supporters, and buying winter coats (who would have thought there would be snow the last week of August?). After we were given the go-ahead by Noelle’s doctor, we set our GPS for Oregon and started our West-side road trip. Every place we stopped was a wonderful time of encouragement. We stayed 2 weeks with my sister and brother-in-law, who had just had their 3rd baby girl. This was very special for our whole family as this was the first chance we’ve had to see the house and property that the Lord had provided Anna and Jed after he lost his legs serving our country in Afghanistan, nearly 10 years ago.  It was a blessing to see the the Spirit at work in all of us as we were mutually encouraged and strengthened.  We then finished out the month by visiting Yosemite National Park to celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary!

Furlough has also provided a great time for me to further my Biblical education. I am currently taking classes to study the history of Israel, and to learn how to read and write in ancient Hebrew! We thank God for this amazing opportunity!

With Love,
Matt, Noelle, Emma, Madeline & Noah Harris

August 2020

“But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation.  My God will hear me.”  Micah 7:7

August was a month of change and transition from the LORD, both for Terebinth Ministries and for our family.  

Like every other entity, our ministry has been trying to navigate the Covid crisis.  When the lock-down started on March 30th, schools were closed down along with businesses, churches, government offices, and the like.  And of course, the Terebinth School of Discipleship was temporarily closed.  We had expected for the schools to open up by harvest time (Jul-Aug), but when it became evident that the reopening was going to delay, we decided as a team to find alternatives to our regular classes.  With prayer and counsel, our leadership decided to start running a temporary alternative class style.  Because of restrictions against meeting in large groups, we have divided our class up into 6 small groups, at different locations and at different times.  Each student is given the student handbook a week in advance of their meeting to prepare them for the main points, the small groups meet for 2 days and watch a prerecorded teaching on the book being studied. They are guided by 2 teachers to further understand the content of the book, and then tested.  We eagerly await our normal class style, but we are thankful for the ability to continue engaging the minds of our pastors in the meantime.  

As we have expressed before, this is also a season of exciting change for our medical clinic, “Dream Center Uganda Health Center III”.  Since its opening in 2012, the clinic has survived many problems, and when Terebinth Ministries took it over in 2017, there were crippling tax debts, no policies, no documentation, deep-seated community relations’ issues and very few patients coming through the doors. Since that time, the numbers have increased drastically; the care is superior to other health centers in the area, the reputation has come a long way to being restored and the records keeping is maintained at a high standard. We have worked to balance affordable care with quality care. However, to date, the clinic is still running at a deficit, and unfortunately our prices are still too high.  As a leadership team we have come to understand that we have gone as far with the clinic as we are able, and that in order to reach higher we need help.  With that in mind we have partnered with another ministry which is successfully operating 26 clinics here in the North.  The doors of the clinic were officially closed August 26th, and will be reopened under their management on the 1st of October.  With their connections, resources, and tested expertise, we know that the community is in good hands and that their future is bright! The clinic will be run with higher quality, lower prices for the community, and with less deficit.

The last change we want to share with you is of our arrival in the USA. In July we had announced our plans to visit America, and since then it has been a rush of events as we organized our home, packed a few bags, and even had 1 cancelled flight and a delay of almost 2 weeks before reaching Colorado.  Now here we are, trying to re-integrate and navigate this “new” America with all of it’s challenges.  We are very thankful to be with our family, and to have the opportunity to encourage and be encouraged by our faithful partners and friends.  We look forward to the next few months as we share with you all, see faces both new and known, and await the arrival of the new baby. 

Here are a few things we would love for you to pray for, if you would take a moment:

  • For the pastoral school as they continue in a new, supplementary way. That the teachers would be dedicated to discipleship, and that the students would have hearts and minds ready to receive.
  • For the medical clinic and our community, as they change to the new medical management. Pray that there would be peace, and that it would be seen as a blessing early on in the transition.
  • Pray for our family as we face so many changes, from culture and diet to time zones and the new social aspects. Pray for peace, health, and wisdom for us in this new environment.
In Christ,
Matt, Noelle, Emma, Madeline & Noah

July 2020

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High.  To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness by night… For you, O Lord have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.”  Psalm 92: 1-2,4.
(This photo was taken by our wonderful teammate, Cassie)

This COVID season has brought about poverty and hunger here in Uganda.  Because of the temporary shut down of businesses and schools, we can see the effects of the declined economy everywhere we look.  People are getting thinner and thinner.  There is also a spiritual poverty that came with the shut down of churches, and people are getting dryer and dryer.  But God is on the move bringing provision to the desperate and giving a tremendous hunger for Himself during these trying times.  

July 31st marked the end of our food distribution program.  Our team at BAM (Business As Mission) Enterprises had been working literally day and night to produce the quantity of food that was being given at our distribution points.  For the last 4 months, we have had volunteers handing out food to people pre-approved by the local government.  Each food package consisted of more than 30lbs of food, and everyone who received the package also had the Gospel preached to them.  By the hand of God, and by your support, we managed to feed more than 60,000 desperate people!  And so many people were getting saved that it became difficult to keep track of! During that same time, we were also distributing food to our in-patients, and we had certain medicines at discounted prices at our clinic.

We have also seen the effects spiritually.  I have seen the results of increased domestic abuse and have personally stopped 2 cases of violence.  Suicide and teen pregnancy are on the rise, and hopelessness is through the roof. But God is good and His Word has still been going out through tiny fellowships for these last 4 months.  I want to share a testimony of what God is doing through the fellowships in our own home…

(Our dear friend and her 4 sisters made up a whole service. It’s been a blessing for them to fellowship with our family since they are from a different tribe and do not speak the local language, making it difficult to join the other groups)

A few weeks ago two teenage boys from our village were led to our house by a good friend of mine to fellowship with us.  They quickly told me that God had been convicting them of their sinful lifestyles and that they wanted to repent and be saved.  After they had gotten saved and we had ended the service, one of them asked if we could preach at his home the following week, and that his family was also ready to get saved.  When the next weekend came, one of those teenagers brought another of his friends to pray with us and he also got saved.  After finishing the fellowships at our house that day we went to the first boy’s home and preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  By the grace of God, almost the whole family came to salvation.  This week another of our neighbors brought my family to visit her family home in a neighboring village.  As her family gathered (nearly 30 people), we quickly saw that they too were in desperate need of hearing the Gospel.  So I asked them to find a translator for us.  We walked them through John 3:16-20, and our neighbor, her mother, her sister, her brother and her mother in law (the local witch doctor) all repented and believed. We left them with instructions to be meeting together to read the Bible and pray, and also to reach out to the other family members in love and patience.  And now we are awaiting this coming Wednesday, to honor the invitation to preach the gospel at that third boy’s home.  

(Ronald (third from the left), the first teenage boy, and his family that recently came to Christ)

Please pray for us as we are trying to prepare for our furlough, and as we continue to proclaim the Gospel. Pray for those ones who were saved, that they would grow even during this time of little church direction, and also for their families.

In Christ,

Matt, Noelle, Emma, Madeline & Noah

Furlough in the USA

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the Gospel from the first day until now.”  Phil 1:3-4

We are so grateful for your partnership in the Gospel with our family.  We have relied on your prayers for our strength and we have been blessed by your support.  May God richly bless you for what has been accomplished here because of you.  

I am writing to inform you of the exciting news that we are heading stateside for a furlough and we want to meet with you face to face, to hear from you, share with you and join with you in personal prayer.  We had planned to schedule a furlough in 2022 but it has become obvious that this will be the best time.  

– Because of the COVID-19 situation our pastoral school has been closed down along with all the other learning institutions in the country of Uganda.  And it doesn’t look like it will resume before 2021.  This will give us the freedom to come home without being very missed here.  

– By the grace of God we have found a wonderful ministry whose passion is for excellent  sustainable Christ-centered health care.  This group will soon take over the management of the Dream Center Uganda Health Center III.  Both taking it to the next level and further freeing my family to enjoy a rest in the US.

– We are also looking forward to the birth of our 4th child at the end of October and we see it will be best to receive him/her into the world stateside.

– Finally, the next Ugandan presidential elections will take place early next year and we are expecting it to come with turmoil and unrest.  

Travel Dates

Due to the nature of foreign travel at this time, the exact dates of our departure FROM Uganda and our return TO Uganda are not yet set in stone. Bellow is a tentative Itinerary for our time in your half of the world.  Please keep in mind that plans are subject to change, and that these are only estimations.  Look over it and email us at mattharris9000@gmail.com with details for when we can get together as soon as possible to better insure our time together.  

  • ColoradoAug 14th – Sep 10th, Oct 14th – Nov 20th
  • MedfordSep 13th – 27th  
  • Los AngelesSep 30th – Oct 4th
  • TecateOct 5th – 12th 
  • KansasNov 20th – 30th
  • NebraskaDec 1st – Jan 10th 
We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you in person very soon!

In Christ,

Matt, Noelle, Emma, Madeline and Noah Harris

June 2020

“Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man , it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it.  Then it says, “I will return to my house from which I came”; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order.  Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there.”  Matt 12:43-45a.  

This month I feel it would be good to share a testimony about a family that God delivered at our medical clinic.  It is not uncommon for God to show up in miraculous ways like this, but because we have a full-time chaplain I am not always present to witness the miracles myself.    

Jenny with her husband and their baby 

On a Monday toward the beginning of June, I was leading the clinic through Proverbs 31 in our morning devotions.  When I was close to wrapping up, one of our patients (who I will call Jenny) came down the hall toward us, slithering like a snake, and then stopped just outside of our gathering.  Jenny had been admitted three days before for severe malaria and her husband was also admitted with us because he had been bitten by a cobra.  When we had finished our closing prayer, I knelt down in front of her to talk to her but found her completely unconscious.  After placing Jenny in a wheelchair and laying her in her room, we decided to sing and pray over her.  As the name of Jesus was sung, her unconscious body began convulsing and attempting to slither away from my friend and me.  We prayed over her for ten to twenty minutes, and when we commanded the demons to leave her she opened her eyes and sat up wondering where she was and how she had gotten there.  That day our team spent hours sharing with her and her husband, and she shared that the demons had taken up residence in her body back in 2014.

The next day I was invited back into our ward by a friend to come to lead to the Lord an elderly couple whom he had been sharing with the night before.  As we came close, we saw Jenny collapse to the ground just outside of the Patients Kitchen.  We then followed the same procedure as the day before, and again she started convulsing and trying to flee whenever she heard the name of the Lord.  But God prevailed again, and within 40 minutes she was delivered.  My friend and I shared the Gospel with her but in her state of stupor, Jenny didn’t give her life to the Lord.  However, by the grace of God, many of our other patients had come to watch and we took the opportunity to gather them in the adjacent room and preach the Gospel.  The elderly couple whom we had originally come for surrendered their lives to Jesus, and the other patients were encouraged.  

That Saturday, at the request of Jenny’s husband, Luke Buescher and I organized a team from among our staff to travel to the family’s home (the next village over) and preach the Gospel.  Our team was warned that this family was hostile to the Word and had been a hindrance to the previous outreaches in that area.  But God had prepared their hearts, and for the most part, we found them ready to receive.  By the end of our time there, many were freed from demonic oppression and a large number of the family, including Jenny, came to salvation!  

“Or how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man?  And then he will plunder his house.  Matt 12:29
For my birthday celebration I got to share a nice meal with the community around us, with this 6 1/2 lb cane rat as the main dish!
Noelle was privileged to paint this art piece for the Terebinth School of Discipleship.
Emma playing with our dog Rocky.
In Christ,
Matt, Noelle, Emma, Madeline and Noah

May 2020

“Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom that we might present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”  Col 1:28
Pastor Samuel sharing the Gospel with a family before giving them their food package.

Not much has changed for our ministry this month as we are on week 11 of “lockdown” ministry.    When lockdown started we had to switch our focus as a ministry from the pastoral training school, which was temporarily shut down, to relief aid and preaching Christ over the airwaves.  We want to say thank you to everyone who has stepped up and donated during this time.  The lockdown has been devastating and it is heartbreaking to see the suffering and starvation sweep through our communities, but it has been amazing to see God answer the needs of so many through the generosity of the global church body.  As a ministry, we are providing families with over 10 tons of food per week.  This means our churches are very busy blessing the communities through the handouts and our staff at BAM are very, very busy preparing the needed supplies, our machines never seem to shut down.  We are blessed that along with the food packages we always have an opportunity to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and many people are being saved as they experience the great love that Christ has for them, including many women who’s desperation had led them to prostitution.  And right now our pastoral team is being broadcasted over the East African airwaves 40 times a month.  It has been great to see many come to Christ through the messages, understand the scriptures through the live call-in times, and have the hope of Christ brought to them through the times of prayer.  Thank you for the great love you’ve shown through your generosity and prayers.  

Our family is doing well, and we are pleased to announce that with the approval of our director and the local government, we have been accepted back into our community and have moved back home.  This has brought back much needed stability and peace to us and our children and even to our neighbors.  I have completely stepped back into my role over the clinic and at BAM.  Noelle has enjoyed being back in our own space, homeschooling and doing small projects for the ministry.  Please pray for us as we host 2 home churches over the weekends.

May God bless you and keep you during this difficult season,
In Christ,
Matt, Noelle, Emma, Madeline and Noah

April 2020

 “He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know me,” John 10:13-14

This is Kica (Grace) Baptist Church where our apartment is.

This month is a blur in my memory. Each day went by so slowly, but now looking back it’s as if no time passed at all. I myself (Noelle) left our two-room, temporary apartment only a few times, so my concept of time and days has become very skewed. But here we are at the beginning of a new month, and I hope I can share with you what God has been doing here in Gulu, Uganda, even though I have not been directly involved with almost any of it.

First of all, I praise God for His provision for us as a ministry. He has done so much to sustain us and allowed us to reach out in more “practical” ways during this difficult time. He opened doors so that we can continue giving food to those women in our widows program. He brought in funds so we can give food to many people who are in need. He enabled us to give deals on certain products at our grain facility to make things more affordable. He allowed us to give a daily portion of food to the patients staying in our medical clinic, and to lower the cost of malaria medications as people are low on cash in these days.

Due to restrictions during the lock-down, we are blessed to partner with the local government to distribute food packages.  People go to their local leader to be vetted before receiving a voucher for food supplies. They can then go to one of the 2 Calvary Chapels in the city and receive amounts of rice, oil, and beans, which are supplied by our grain facility. With all of this, along with the current radio ministry we are able to do, we are making a lot of relationships with those in the local government and also gaining a lot of publicity. Please pray for these MANY opportunities to share the hope of Christ to be fruitful!

Because the limit of how many people can meet together is only 5, the 2 Calvary churches we are closely connected with have been doing home fellowships. Each fellowship is lead by different leaders in the church, whether they are leading only their family or a few small fellowships throughout the day.  Between the 2 Calvary’s, there are more than 60 home fellowships, who are currently going through either the book of Daniel, or through the I Am statements of Christ, depending on which church they normally attend. It is exciting to see so many believers staying faithful and even growing into leaders during this time. Pray for these leaders, that they would continue to grow in the knowledge of Christ, and be bold in preaching the gospel in truth.

Noah celebrating his 2nd birthday!

For our family, by God’s grace we decided not to waste this time of separation from normal work and life, but to get ourselves more on track physically and spiritually. Physically we had been at a lower point than we would have liked to believe, but getting rushed out of our home and normal groove helped us to “restart” in a way. A new meal plan and changes in diet, and daily exercise for both me and Matt, have really helped us start feeling better in general. The extra time for Matt to be able to sit and read the Word has been a real encouragement. He was even able to attend the online Men’s conference put on by our church in CO and two other Calvary’s.

Praise God:
  • For all the provision he is giving those in need.
  • For the faithful worship of Christ through home churches.
  • For our family’s health.
Please Pray:
  • For wisdom as we seek to meet physical needs right now.
  • That our “small church” leaders are equipped to faithfully handle the Word.
  • That God would fill us with His Spirit.  
In Christ,
Matt, Noelle, Emma, Madeline and Noah